What are Fire Exit Signs? - The Sign Shed

What are Fire Exit Signs?

What are Fire Exit Signs?

Fire exit signs in the UK play a crucial role in ensuring the safe evacuation of individuals during a fire emergency. These signs provide clear visual cues that guide people toward escape routes, helping them navigate the building and reach safety efficiently.

Purpose and Significance

Fire exit signs serve several important purposes:

  1. Identify Escape Routes: These signs clearly indicate the location of designated escape routes, ensuring that people can quickly locate their path to safety.
  2. Maintain Visibility: Fire exit signs are designed to be highly visible, even in low-light or smoky conditions, ensuring that they can be seen and understood in an emergency.
  3. Consistent Design: Fire exit signs follow standardized designs and symbols, ensuring universal recognition and comprehension across different buildings and settings.
  4. Compliance with Regulations: Fire exit signs are mandated by fire safety regulations in the UK, ensuring that buildings are equipped with these essential safety features.

Types of Fire Exit Signs

There are two main types of fire exit signs in the UK:

  1. Illuminated Fire Exit Signs: These signs have an internal light source that makes them visible even in low-light or smoky conditions.
  2. Non-illuminated Fire Exit Signs: These signs rely on ambient light for visibility and are typically used in areas with adequate lighting.

Design and Symbolism

Fire exit signs in the UK adhere to specific design standards and use standardized symbols for clarity and consistency:

  1. Green Background: Fire exit signs typically have a green background, which is associated with safety and is easily recognizable in dimly lit environments.
  2. White Exit Symbol: A stylized silhouette of a running person is used to represent the exit, providing a clear visual cue for the direction of escape.
  3. Direction Arrow: An arrow may be included to indicate the specific direction of the exit, especially in situations where there are multiple escape routes.
  4. Legible Text: The word "EXIT" is often displayed in clear, bold lettering, ensuring that the sign's message is easily understood.

Placement and Maintenance

Fire exit signs should be strategically placed throughout the building, ensuring that they are visible from multiple angles and along all potential escape routes. They should be mounted at a height that is easily seen by occupants, typically between 6 feet and 8 feet from the floor.

Regular inspection and maintenance of fire exit signs are crucial to ensure their effectiveness in an emergency. Signs should be checked for damage, dirt, or obstructions, and any issues should be addressed promptly. Routine cleaning and replacement of damaged or faded signs are essential to maintain their visibility and effectiveness.

Compliance with Standards

Fire exit signs in the UK must comply with relevant British Standards (BS) and fire safety regulations. BS 5499-1:2011 specifically outlines the design, dimensions, colors, and symbols for fire exit signs, ensuring consistency and effectiveness in conveying fire safety information.


Fire exit signs understandably play a crucial role in safeguarding lives during fire emergencies. By adhering to standardized designs, symbols, and placement guidelines, fire exit signs provide clear and consistent visual cues that guide people towards safety. Regular inspection and maintenance ensure that these essential safety features remain effective in protecting occupants in the event of a fire.

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